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Generations and alterity: questions to the sociology of childhood

Manuel Jacinto Sarmento About the author

The sociology of childhood intends to establish childhood as a sociological object, rescuing it from the biological viewpoint, which reduces it to an intermediate maturation and human development stage, and from the psychological approach, which tends to look at children as individuals who develop independently from the social framework of their conditions of existence and from the different representations and pictures that have historically been built about and for them. Moreover, the sociology of childhood proposes to question society from a point of view that considers children as a per se object of sociological investigation, increasing knowledge on both childhood and society as a whole. Childhood is thus conceived as a generational category that reveals the possibilities and constraints of the social structure. The challenge we address is to question how such theoretical constructs as "generation" and "alterity" are set up as gateways to the hidden gardens in which children have been confined by the traditional theories on childhood and how such knowledge can create new ways of building up reflexivity on both the conditions of existence and the paths of life in the current situation of modernity.

Childhood; Generation; Sociology of childhood; Children; Alterity

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